Read How States Fund Spec Ed.xls text version

DRAFT: State Survey of Special Education Funding Formulas - by David Lapp, Education Law Center, May 2009

PA Currently PA - Proposed Date of Adoption / Applicable Statute What's Being Measured? Is the Measurement Divided into Categories / tiers? If so, how?

total # of students Long ago

New Jersey


New York

prior to 2007-2008

New York

since 2007-2008




5 year phase in began in 2002

West Virginia



2001 began a phase in that is at 90% in 2008-2009 Ohio Revised Code § 3317.013 & 3317.03 Number of students with specific disabilities (autism, speech, etc.) Yes - six disability Category Weights 1 (Speech Only) - .2892 2 (LD, DH, Other Health - minor) .3691 3 (Hearing Impaired, Visually Impaired, SBH) - 1.7695 4 (Other Health-Major, Orthopedic) - 2.3646 5 (Multi-handicapped) - 3.1129 6 (TBI, Autism, Deaf-Blind) 4.7342



South Carolina


HB 704

N.J.S. 18A:7F-43 to N.J.S. 18A:7F-55

McKinney's Education Law § 3602 number of special ed students

Code Del. Regs. 14 700, 900, and 928

MD Code, Education, § 5-209

WVC §18-9A-10(a) to WVC §189A-26. No Specific Funding for Special Education

F.S.A. § 1011.62

South Carolina Annotated Code § 59-20-40

number of special ed students

total # of students

hours of direct service

"teacher units" (based on student populations)

number of special ed students

Numbers of students in "support level 4 or 5" - see "Matrix of Services" Yes Kindergarten and Grades 1, 2, and 3 receiving any Exceptional Student Services(ESE) Services = 1.066 weight Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 with any ESE Services = 1.0 weight Grades 9, 10, 11, and 12 with any ESE Services = 1.052 weight Support Level 4 = 3.570 weight Support Level 5 = 4.970 weight

Number of students with specific disabilities (autism, speech, blind, etc.) yes - each disability has its own weight Trainable Mentally Handicapped 2.04 Speech Handicapped 1.90 Homebound 2.10 Emotionally Handicapped 2.04 Educable Mentally Handicapped 1.74 Learning Disabilities 1.74 Hearing Handicapped 2.57 Visually Handicapped 2.57 Orthopedically Handicapped 2.04 Autism 2.57 The ADM (ave. daily membership) x weight = district WPU (weighted pupil units for a district)

no - Census based approach assumes the same percent of no - one weight (1.3) for all special ed students students with disabilities in all districts.

no - Census based approach assumes the same percent of students with disabilities in all districts.

Yes - type of disability = more or fewer units (e.g. 1 unit per 20 regular ed students Yes - 1 unit / 15 "educable mentally handicapped" 60% & services 1.7 no - one weight 1.41 for children weight. special ed students - 1 unit / 10 seriously emotional disturbed 20-60% service .9 No - one weight 1.17 for all special - 1 unit / 8 blind or learning disabled weight ed students (The two-tier weighting - 1 unit / 6 trainable mentally handicapped, add .5 weight if system is still used for severely mentally handicapped, traumatic brain "services" are provided charter schools.) injured, orthopedically disabled, or partially in a regular classroom deaf children setting. - 1 unit / 4 autistic or deaf-blind children.)


What is the formula to determine Special Education "Cost"?

NJ State contr. to spec. ed. costs = State's Categorical Contribution (Total Enr. x 14.69% x $10,898 x 1/3 x GCA) + (Extraordinary Weights factor into Aid) determining the total base cost x 1.3 weight = + 16% x total student student counts which are cost of reaching State's Wealth-Equalized Contr. population = cost then multiplied by a adequacy target ((Total Enr. x 14.69% x $10,898 uniform base cost x 2/3)­ LFS) + ((Total Enr. x 1.897% x $1,082) ­ LFS) GCA = Geographic Cost Adjustment LFS = Local Fair Share Yes - 1.5% of total state special ed. appropriations. Districts apply to the State which has the discretion to grant applications. Statutory priority to lowwealth districts. Yes, see "extraordinary aid" in the formula. State pays 75% of Costs over $40,000 for in district placements, 75% of Costs over $55,000 for out of district placements. State pays 90% of Costs over $40,000 when students are educated in inclusion setting.

Number of special ed students x 1.41 weight = Districts get state funds based on how many number counted toward "units" they have. Generally, one "unit" will fund the total student the equivalent of one FTE teacher and one population. Total student paraprofessional. The number of "units" will base cost (approx. $6, 694) x 1.17 population x base cost weight = cost also result in state funding for other staff (between approx. $5,695members (principals, support staff, etc.). $8,115 depending on Currrently the state funds approximately 70% of the cost of a teacher or other staff member. geography / poverty) = cost

Number of students in a particular Number of (FTE) students x applicable State WPU x BSC (Base Student Cost) = Total Cost Special Ed. is not included in any disability category x category cost factors (See Matrix) = weighted FTE (BSC) = $2,578; state weighted pupil units (WPU) = formula, however, the State funds weight x district share (based on 872,274 students. Weighted FTE students x base x approximately 55% of public poverty / geographic cost, but district cost differential = base funding education in WV. Districts have generally around 45% of the base The State provides each district the difference from state and local funds. Then also add wide discretion over how they use which is currently $5,565) x 90% = between the district total cost and required local in a Supplemental Academic Instruction those funds and it is expected that state funding (this caculation is support including an index of taxpaying ability. Allocation and an ESE Guaranteed they are used in part to pay the conducted for each of the six Allocation costs of special education. disability categories above) (district WPU X BSC) ­ (state WPU X BSC X index X .3) = district allocation

Is there Yes - approximately 1% of total state provision for special extreme appropriations. expenses? (ie - Districts apply to the State which has the contingency discretion to grant applications. funds?) What other variables are considered? Accountability checks on over identification?

Yes - funds are appropriated at the discretion of Yes, State provides up to the "Interagency Collaborative Team" which will 49% of the cost above evaluate student with "disabilities who present educational needs that cannot be addressed $10,000 through the existing resources . . ."


Yes, the funding statute created a Yes - "Catastrophic Aid" is an line item in which districts can Yes, SC has provision for what is called Yes - "smaller" districts can apply to the available reimbursement for apply to the State Superintedant "Categorical Funding" that allows a district to Commissioner of Edcuation with for further assistance "to support educational expenses that exceed children with high acuity needs $27,375 any child in category two, documentation of the difference between receive additional funding for students whose needs to not fit in the weighted categories. cost and available funds. three, four or five or $32,850 for that exceed the capacity of the any child in category six. school district to provide with available funds." WVC §18-20-5


poverty, tax effort, school district location, inclusion

poverty, school district, (inclusion is factored in only for extreme expenses)


inclusion, school district, school district effort is factored into the general poverty ed. formula.

special ed is one of many factors in the overall formula. Others include poverty, ell, school district location.


poverty and school district location

special ed is one of many factors in the overall formula. Others include poverty, ell, school district location.

school district location / wealth



No (but see below)

The DOE collects data for federally mandated state performance plans, which can affect the IDEA dollars, but not state funding.



No, but see motivation for reform below.


The DOE conducts statistical analyses to determine when a district's numbers are inconsistent with other similar districts and alerts those districts. However, there is no legal authority to withhold funds.


Reasons for recent or future reform?

Potential underfunding and inaccurate distribution.

"There was a feeling among a lot of practitioners that having When questioned about The move to a "census-based" over-classification the two weightings approach was touted by those incentives in a pupilcreated an artificial who claimed that pupil weights weighted system, distinction that was create an incentive to over Michael C. Plotzker, unnecessarily complex classify students as special ed. Coordinator for the and confusing." Burt in order to get more state Central Office Porter - Director of funding. There is no conclusive Administrative Support Education Finance See Costing-Out Study evidence that this is true and Services Team, NY State Education others have doubted the 2009 responded, "There's no Department likelihood of districts incentive created by the overclassifying students when weights to over-identify A system measuring they are still responsible to because about 58-60% instructional time for locally fund a large portion of special ed. did not factor of the cost of educating the additional costs of federally kids with disabilities are in expenses outside and state mandated special born by local funding." instructional time education. (teacher prep time, assistive technology costs, training, etc. )

Delaware is in the process of reforming education funding, including special education. A pilot "needs-based" system is now used in 12 of the state's 19 districts. This system still uses teacher units, but in recognition of the fact that not all autisic students - for example - are alike, the focus is now on the amount of services a student requires (Basic, Intense, and Complex) rather than the name of their disability. (See attached rubric). In addition, the LEAD Committee was established by Governor Ruth Ann Minner in 2007 to study school funding. LEAD found that DE's current unit system has lead to inflexibility, unpredictability, and funding disparities for schools. LEAD published funding reform recommendations based on a pupilweighted system. See LEAD Committee's report at EAD_funding_study.pdf)

In 2002 MD became the first state to enact a comprehensive funding formula guided by principles of adequacy and equity without being ordered to do so by a court. Special Ed weights are just one part of this formula. However, a recent evaluation of the new funding formula concluded that "In the few years following [the new formula], proficiency levels statewide have improved dramatically for all students and for NCLB groups." (available at ocushare/dsweb/View/Collection18046). In January Education Week ranked the MD state education system as #1 in the nation.

Public Schools in WV are heavily State funded. The State pays an allowance toward the statutorily set minimum salaries of teachers and other expenses based on the total student enrollment (ie approx. 66 teachers and 45 "service professionals" per 1,000 students). Prior to 2008 WV counted special ed students by a factor of 2:1 (ie 10 spec. ed = 20 regular ed). In 2008, WV increased funding for regular education, but it did away with any weighting for special ed students. This was intended to do away with what was a perceived incentive to over identify students as special ed due to the high percent of state funding.

The overall Ohio public school funding system was born of litigation in which the courts ruled that the state was not providing adequate nor equitable funding for public education. Poor districts have realized gains under the new formula. However, the new governor is advocating new legislation that, while keeping the pupil weights, would make major changes to the formula and would fall far behind the phase in schedule of the original costing out study.

In 2000 Florida abolished a a system involving 15 different cost factors based on disability label (see DE, OH, SC) and adopted a Matrix system to determine each students need. After initial complaints that the Matrix was too complex, support levels 1-3 were removed (except in charter schools). Students in categories 1-3 no longer receive Reporting requirements on the districts are fairly additional funding. However, most heavy. There has also been some disatisfaction schools still complete a "matrix" on those that the rigid categories do not recognize the variety students to see if they fall within support of needs within each category. (for example there is level 4-5. Many districts regreted the a large spectrum with the autism label) change because they lost funding on boarderline students. Complexity remains a problem and the department reports, "It has been very hard to keep the matrix uniform, for every district to do it the Margaret Burley - Ohio Coalition same. We do audit but that's a huge job for the Education of Children with and of course we have limited resources." Disabilities. Martha Haynes - Office of Funding & Financial Reporting.


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